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2024 French Open Preview: Alexander Zverev vs. Holger Rune

June 3, 2024


No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany will face 13th seed Holger Rune of Denmark in the French Open round of 16 on Monday.

The winner of this match will play either fifth-seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia or 11th-seed Alex de Minaur of Australia in the quarterfinals.

Sascha Zverev will be eager to extend his nine-match unbeaten streak. Furthermore, the German is bidding to claim his first-ever victory over Holger Rune, with the Dane winning 6-3, 6-2 in the pair's only previous meeting at the BMW Open in Munich (April 2022).

Alexander Zverev Betting Preview (-278 at EveryGame)

All in all, Zverev boasts a strong 13-3 record on clay this season, with the German winning the Rome Masters crown after a few unconvincing performances earlier in the European clay-court swing. This includes back-to-back rounds of 16 exits at Monte Carlo and Madrid.

The 27-year-old German has faced numerous disappointments in his pursuit of a Grand Slam title, often squandering critical opportunities. Notable examples include failing to serve out the match against Dominic Thiem in the 2020 US Open final and losing a two-set lead against Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year. However, Zverev recently narrowly avoided defeat against Tallon Griekspoor in the third round of this year's French Open. He also earned a memorable win over Rafael Nadal in the first round, which likely boosted his momentum and confidence.

Many first-time Grand Slam winners outside the "Big Three" have experienced miraculous escapes during their successful campaigns, and Zverev's victory against Tallon Griekspoor fits this pattern. Despite initially trailing by a set, he rebounded impressively to take a two-sets-to-one lead. In the deciding set, Zverev fell behind by two breaks (1-4) but staged a remarkable comeback to dominate the tiebreaker.

His on-court struggles suggest that the ongoing trial for his domestic abuse allegations, which began on Friday, may be affecting him despite his claims of being entirely focused on tennis. The trial's verdict, expected on Monday, could significantly impact his performance in the second week in Paris.

Setting aside potential off-court distractions, Zverev is a strong contender for the Roland Garros title this week. He is currently on a nine-match winning streak, the longest among all players on the main tour, and his best on clay since his 13-match streak in 2018. Moreover, he has reached the semifinals in the last three editions of the French Open (2021, 2022, and 2023) and holds a solid 5-1 record in the round of 16 at this tournament.

Yet to reach his first French Open final, Zverev left the tournament after the semifinals in the last three editions. While he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2021 and Casper Ruud in 2023, many would probably remember the horrific injury he sustained in the second set of his tense semifinal clash against Rafael Nadal exactly two years ago (on this date).

Holger Rune Betting Preview (+210 at EveryGame)

The Dane already beat Alexander Zverev in Munich en route to his maiden ATP final at the BMW Open in 2022, when he also won his first title, even though his final opponent, Botic van de Zandschulp, was forced to retire during the first set.

Holger Rune entered the French Open lacking form, confidence, and belief, facing the possibility of failing to defend his quarterfinal points and damaging his ranking. However, he benefited from a favorable draw and other fortunate results. He faced Dan Evans and Flavio Cobolli in the early rounds, though Rune was dragged into a five-setter against the latter.

Moreover, the 21-year-old avoided a tough challenge in the third round after Jozef Kovalik upset Karen Khachanov, ultimately granting Rune a 7-5, 6-1, 7-6 win.

Rune has reached the quarterfinals in his previous French Open campaigns (2022 and 2023). He will need a significant performance and some luck to maintain this streak, given his current form and confidence, which may not be sufficient to defeat a Top-10 player right now.

During this clay swing (unlike in 2023), Rune suffered disappointing losses from players like Jan-Lennard Struff (2-6, 0-6), Tallon Griekspoor, and Sebastian Baez. Additionally, he has lost eight of his last nine completed matches against top-10 opponents.

Still, Rune reached the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters, where he beat Grigor Dimitrov in the last-16 before losing 4-6, 7-6, 3-6 to Jannik Sinner.

As a former Boys' French Open champion, Rune may find confidence in his performance in tiebreakers, which could give him an edge if he can keep sets close. He is on a 13-tiebreaker winning streak, which began in Montpellier in February.

Spooky Express Betting Prediction

Alexander Zverev might find some solace in the fact that Rune lost his top-10 status this year. Otherwise, Zverev might not perceive the same level of opportunity, especially considering his poor 3-15 record against top-10 players in the Majors.

Despite being an elite performer and competitor on clay courts, Rune has experienced a rough patch recently, making him the underdog in this matchup. Being in this role might do him a favor against his German counterpart.

Spooky Express Free Play: Over 38.5 Games -118 at EveryGame for 6/10 Units